Harmonizing our relationships
This blog post is related to our podcast MeWe, season 1, episode 7, harmonizing our relationships.
This last episode of MeWe’s first season, is about perfecting the art of relationships by raising awareness on our way of thinking and relating. Marie-Amélie’s conviction is that the quality of our relationships influences the quality of our life, as women, as entrepreneurs, as mothers, partners, etc. We are designed to be connected but don't necessarily have the ingredients for mutual understanding. The idea is to shift perception, learn to listen, to express ourselves for improved communication in teams, groups or at home, and successful collaborations.
3 steps of a constructive dialogue
Having good conversations is not necessarily obvious. Again it depends on our educational environment and the skills we developed during childhood and studies.There is no fatality and this is something we can learn at any age.
As a starting point of a constructive dialogue there are 3 steps, 3 bubbles that are together, and not necessarily connected.
One of the first secrets on how to have good conversation is linked to this subtle line between what is internal with myself and what is external with others. We tend to forget that in a dialogue there is a flow of energy and thoughts and also steps - like validation stages - to enable mutual understanding:
First, myself, what do I feel, what do I think - like in a plane, you have to put your oxygen mask on yourself and then to others in need. Do a body scan. Clarify.
Then, if it’s clear you can cross the line toward others, listen to them and/or express yourself.
and come back to yourself when needed at any time. Back and forth.
Deconditioning and assertiveness
It seems simple like that, but it takes practice to danse between these 3 bubbles with ease. One of the reasons is the socio-cultural conditioning we live in, at least in Europe, around the sense of duty and obligation that often pushes us to make unaligned choices and block our power of action.
One of the most common hurdles I hear is linked to the fear of being rejected so we don’t voice what is alive within us. We tend to avoid saying no, or we over adapt to others - this fine line we see on the drawing -
Whereas, assertivity is the capacity to tell our truth in an authentic and benevolent way. Not in an aggressive way, neither accepting passively things. It’s one of the pillars of self-esteem. Self affirmation is a skill that I wish would be more embodied within women. Connected to self-love and self-trust, It’s a powerful force for good and a birthright we have as much as men.
Do you notice how sometimes you refrain from talking, sharing, being yourself? Note down the situations and see what’s hidden behind: is there any fear? Any judgment toward yourself or others? It’s Marshall Rosenberg, the founder of Nonviolent Communication who is saying that "All judgment is the tragic expression of an unmet need". Having that consciousness in mind, can you see conflict with a different perspective?
From reaction to relation
The second secret that Marshall Rosenberg shared more mutual understanding is captured in this sentence:
“We all share the same basic human needs of meaningful connection and harmonious relationships. All actions are a strategy to meet one or more of these needs”
Our needs are legitimate and universal. They need to be recognized more than to be satisfied. As soon as we manage to relate with someone at the level of our needs, a connection is present. It does not mean we agree with each other. It’s an understanding of a situation with a different angle, because the rest are just strategies. Knowing that, reading between lines, reformulating, are ways to continue uncomfortable conversation up to a point of mutual understanding.
The family of needs can be summarized in a the following flower (from Isâ Padovani, NVC trainer). On the welcome page of Marie-Amélie’s website www.marieamelieormieres.com you can download the ebook where a list of needs is gathered to help you connect with them.
Principles of conscious communication
Now, you are certainly going to say “Ok I understand but how do I concretely do?”
The principles of conscious communication are guidelines to help you speak your truth. They are not meant to be used as such but the 4 steps, commonly known as OFND, are helpful when you start and enter the flow:
● Observing without judgment the (bad) stories we tell ourselves sometimes. Escaping from automatism and limiting beliefs. Auto-empathy
● Feeling without interpreting our emotions, that are a resource, even at the workplace. Listening empathically to oneself and others. Auto-empathy
● Connecting to the energy of our Needs behind our actions. Ability to understand everyone in the relationship and distinguish needs from desires and wishes. Empathic listening.
● Demand: making concrete and negotiable requests that foster co-creation in the relationship. Assertive expression.
What about you?
Do you navigate at ease within your relationship? Or is there an area that is more challenging for you?
Do you know what your truth is? Are you able to connect with your gut and voice it?
Do you feel overactive in certains situations ?
Are you in touch with your needs?
How do you embody your vulnerability? Do you feel safe when vulnerable or not?
Very often, in our relations we remain in a small area where we listen and express ourselves very little. Expressing ourselves with authenticity and vulnerability is often considered as risky. We hope that these first insights will support you to dare to take the risk of relationships!
If you need a partner and guide to help you gain clarity on a situation, remove obstacles in a conflict and a re-setup of your relational system, you can contact Marie-Amélie for individual sessions. If you believe your team deserves a better collaborative environment and you want to train with your colleagues in Conscious Communication there is also an option for online trainings adapted for the workplace.
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MeWe is WOMADE's official podcast sharing empowering stories to inspire ambitious women — follow us on Instagram